Warrington have the chance to turn up the heat on the Super League leaders Wigan when they meet in today's match at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
A victory for the Wolves, who are the holders of the league leaders' shield, would take them to within a point of the Warriors with three games left of the regular season.
Warrington have not topped the table since March but they are running into form at the right time, with five straight wins, including a Challenge Cup semi-final triumph over Huddersfield, to keep alive hopes of a double.
Wigan, who can concentrate on the league following their cup exit, have been the pacesetters since the midway point of the season, with one defeat in their last 15 games. Wolves' coach, Tony Smith, admits they deserve to be top – for now.
"They've been terrific so far," he said yesterday. "They've been the most consistent team. But it's over 27 rounds and I think there'll be a few twists and turns in the competition before we're all finished."
The Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, is old-fashioned enough to cherish the league leaders' shield, insisting the table-toppers deserve recognition for their consistency throughout the year, and he has made no secret of his desire to get his hands on the trophy. "It's a big thing for me and Saturday is a game I have been looking forward to for weeks and weeks," he said.
While Warrington are at full strength, Wigan are still without five regulars through injury, but the centre Darrell Goulding and forwards Paul Prescott and Ben Flower are back. Young stand-off Sam Powell will be looking to build on his tryscoring debut in last week's win over Hull but Smith admits the biggest threat will come from full-back Sam Tomkins.
"They're not sitting in No 1 by coincidence," he said. "They deserve to be there. They've a formula they like to play by and then you throw Sam Tomkins on top of that. He can produce some of the most spectacular rugby league, the most dangerous rugby league of any player in the world at times. That's exciting and I love watching Sam play. We'll be doing everything we can to keep him as quiet as possible and that's all you can do."Reuse content